• Administration/Operations Bills Passed by the 2015 Legislature

     

    HB 23
    Davis, Sarah
    Disclosure of Relationships with Local Government Officers and Vendors

    Makes substantial changes to provisions in the Local Government Code, including amending the terms “agent,” “family member,” “local government entity,” and ”local government officer,” and adds new definitions for the terms “family relationship,” “gift,” and “vendor.”

    Provides that the reporting requirements apply to a vendor and local government officer. Reduces the aggregate value of gifts that would trigger a reporting requirement from $250 to $100 during a 12-month period. Requires the filing of a vendor questionnaire if a person is both a local government officer and a vendor of a local governmental entity.

    Requires the records administrator to maintain a list of officers of the local governmental entity and to make the list available to the public and any vendor who may be required to file a conflict of interest questionnaire.

    Provides enforcement provisions and criminal penalties if a local government officer and vendor knowingly fail to comply with the reporting requirements.

    Repeals certain provisions in the Local Government Code. Requires the Texas Ethics Commission to adopt forms.

    Earliest effective date: September 1, 2015

    HB 283
    Fallon
    Online Posting and Recording of Audio/Video of Open Meetings

    Requires a school district that has an enrollment of 10,000 or more students to:

    1. make a video and audio recording of reasonable quality of each regularly scheduled open meeting that is not a work session or special called meeting and
    2. make an archived copy of the video and audio recording available on the Internet. Allows the school district to make available the archived copy on an existing website, including a video-sharing or social networking site, rather than establishing a separate website. Requires a school district that maintains a website to make available, in a conspicuous manner, the archived recording of each meeting or an accessible link to the archived recording. Requires the school district to make the archived recording of the meeting available online no later than seven days after the date of the recording was made and maintain the archived recording for not less than two years after it was first made available. Exempts the school district from posting the archived recording online if there is a catastrophe or technical breakdown.

    Provides that a school district must make all reasonable efforts to make the required recording available in a timely manner. Allows a school district to broadcast a regularly scheduled meeting on television.

    Earliest effective date: January 1, 2016

    HB 484
    Capriglione
    Eligibility of a Person for Certain Public Elective Offices

    Requires that a person who is a candidate or elected or appointed to a public elective office be registered to vote in the territory from which the office is elected. Requires that an elected officer be a registered voter.

    Earliest effective date: September 1, 2015

    HB 685
    Sheets
    Public Information Act Request Online Referrals

    Provides that a public information officer complies with the Public Information Act’s production requirements by referring a requestor to an exact Internet location or URL address on a website maintained by the political subdivision and accessible to the public, if the requested information is identifiable and readily available on the website. If the person requesting the information prefers receiving it in a manner other than access through the URL, the political subdivision must supply the information in the manner prescribed in Texas Government Code Section 552.221(b). If a public information officer provides an Internet location or URL by email, the email must contain a statement in a conspicuous font that clearly indicates that the requestor may access the requested information by inspection, duplication, or by receipt by mail.

    Changes in law made by this Act only apply to an information request that is received on or after the effective date of this Act.

    Earliest effective date: September 1, 2015

    HB 744
    Huberty
    Purchase of Bodily Injury Insurance by School Districts

    Allows school districts to obtain insurance against bodily injuries sustained by students while training or engaging in interschool athletic competition or while engaging in school-sponsored activities on or off a school campus.

    Applies beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    HB 786
    Walle
    Right of a Public Employee to Breastfeed

    Requires school districts and other public employers to allow employees to express breast milk at the workplace. Requires school districts to develop a written policy that states that the district supports the practice of expressing breast milk and makes reasonable accommodations for employees. Requires school districts to provide a reasonable amount of break time for these employees as needed. Districts must provide a private place (other than a multiple user bathroom) that is shielded from view and free from intrusion. Prohibits school districts from suspending, terminating, or discriminating against an employee for asserting the right to express breast milk. Provides that this law does not create a cause of action against a school district.

    Earliest effective date: September 1, 2015

    HB 1305
    Bonnen, Greg
    Reduced-price Breakfast Program

    Allows school boards to either participate in the National School Breakfast Program or develop and implement a locally funded program to provide free meals, including breakfast and lunch, to each student eligible for reduced-priced meals under federal law. The reduced price cannot exceed the maximum allowable rate under federal law. Provides that a school district may participate in the national program at one or more campuses in the district and provide a locally funded program at one or more other campuses in the district.

    Provides that the number of educationally disadvantaged students for purposes of the compensatory education allotment is determined by averaging the best six months’ numbers of students eligible for enrollment in the national school lunch program for the preceding year. A student receiving a full-time virtual education through the state virtual school network may be included in determining the number of educationally disadvantaged students if the district submits and the commissioner approves the district’s plan detailing enhanced services that will be provided to the students.

    Applies beginning with the 2015-16 school­ year.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    HB 2027
    Bonnen, Greg
    Establishing Precincts for Elections Held on a Uniform Election Date

    Provides that the county election precincts are the election precincts for an election held by a political subdivision on a uniform election date, except for:

    1. an election held on the May uniform election date that conducts early voting by personal appearance at 75 percent or more of its permanent or temporary branch polling on the same days and during the same hours as voting is conducted at the main early voting place; and
    2. at each remaining polling place for at least two consecutive days of voting during the early voting period and for at least eight hours on each of the two consecutive days; or
    3. has not established a permanent or temporary branch early voting polling place.

    Earliest effective date: September 1, 2015


    HB 2134
    Burkett
    Emailed Public Information Requests

    Allows a public information request sent via email to be considered withdrawn if the governmental body, public information officer, or agent sends a request for clarification, additional information, or discussion by email to the same address from which the original request was sent or to another email address provided by the requestor, and no written or email response is received within the required time period.

    Changes in law made by this Act apply only to an information request that is received on or after the effective date of this Act.

    Earliest effective date: September 1, 2015

    HB 2610
    King, Ken
    Minutes of Instruction

    Requires each school district to provide 75,600 minutes of instruction, including intermissions and recesses. Allows a school district to add additional minutes to the end of the district’s normal school hours as necessary to compensate for minutes of instruction lost due to school closures caused by disaster, flood, extreme weather conditions, fuel curtailment, or another calamity. Allows the commissioner to adopt rules for the application, on the basis of the minimum minutes of instruction, for any provision that refers to the minimum number of days. Provides that a reference to a day of instruction means 420 minutes of instruction. Prohibits a school district from scheduling the last day of school before May 15.

    Allows a school district that does not offer each grade level from kindergarten through grade 12 and whose prospective or former students generally attend school in another state for the grade levels the district does not offer to schedule the last day of school after May 15 or the law of another state.

    Provides that the minimum number of instructional minutes applies with the 2015-16 school year.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    Read the FAQs document on HB 2610 released on September 28, 2015. 

    HB 3106
    Huberty
    Extension of Board of Managers’ Authority

    Allows the commissioner of education to extend the authority of a board of managers, if, before the second anniversary of the date the managers were appointed, the commissioner determines, after receiving local feedback, that insufficient progress has been made toward improving the academic or financial performance of the district.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately


    HB 3357
    Lucio III, Eddie
    Permitted Methods for Certain Political Subdivisions to Post Meeting Notices

    Allows school districts that extend into four or more counties the option of posting notice of a meeting on the district’s website rather than providing it to the county clerk.

    Applies only to a meeting held on or after September 1, 2015.

    Earliest effective date: September 1, 2015

    HB 3562
    Thompson, Senfronia
    Grace Period for Exhausted or Insufficient Meal Card or Account Balance

    Requires a school district that allows a student to use a prepaid meal card or account to purchase meals to adopt a grace period policy for situations in which the meal card or account is exhausted or insufficient to continue for a period determined by the district. Provides that the policy must require the school district to notify the parent or person standing in parental relation that the meal card or account is exhausted. Prohibits the district from charging a fee or interest in connection with meals purchased during the grace period. Allows the district to set a repayment schedule as part of the notice to the parent or person standing in parental relation.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    SB 20
    Nelson
    State Agency Contracts

    Amends various provisions relating to state agency contracting. Requires the comptroller to conduct a study examining the practicality of consolidating state purchasing functions into fewer state agencies or a single state agency. The study must examine cost savings of the various options.

    Requires state agencies to retain each contract entered into and all related contract solicitation documents until after the seventh anniversary of the date the contract is completed, expires, or all issues that arise from any litigation, claim, audit, open records request, or other action involving the contract or documents are resolved.

    Prohibits a former state officer or employee who, during that service or employment, participated on behalf of a state agency in a procurement or contract negotiation involving a person, may not accept employment from that person before the second anniversary of the date the state service or employment ceased.

    Makes other changes to state purchasing contracts for various agencies.

    Changes made in law by this Act only apply only to a contract entered into on or after the effective date of this Act.

    Earliest effective date: September 1, 2015

    SB 450
    Schwertner
    Liability of a Political Subdivision

    Amends the Civil Practices and Remedies Code to provide that the Texas Tort Claims Act does not apply to a claim against a political subdivision of the state that acquires the land as a result of foreclosure of a lien held by the political subdivision, including land that was bid off to the political subdivision. Includes other criteria that must be satisfied.

    Changes made by this Act apply only to a claim that arises on or after the effective date of this Act, regardless of whether the land was acquired by a political subdivision before, on, or after the effective date of this Act.

    Earliest effective date: September 1, 2015

    SB 733
    Fraser
    General Election Date for Certain Political Subdivisions

    Allows the governing body of a political subdivision, other than a county or municipal utility district, that holds its general election for officers on a date other than the November uniform election to, not later than December 31, 2016, change the date on which it holds its general election for officers to the November uniform election date.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    SB 821
    Rodriguez
    References to School in the Family Code

    Changes several provisions in the Family Code referencing a primary school to an elementary school.

    Earliest effective date: September 1, 2015